Give Yourself a Break Already

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek

My Girlhood Dream
My mom once told me that while other gals she knew wanted to be secretaries, and stewardess, and have careers, all she ever wanted was to be a mom. I thought that was real lame, as I dreamed for a big career in corporate America. I dreamed about jet setting  to exotic locations and working in a big skyscraper. I boasted how I was never going to get married or have children. I planned to live a life devoted to self.

Plans Diverted
I was always kinda boy crazy. I had my first boyfriend in kindergarten as I was fairly pretty and always had plenty of attention. This would be the demise of my entire plan. I fell in love with Jim at 16, on our second date. I immersed myself in everything Jim. It was not long and I became pregnant. We got married at 17 and 18 years of age and had a baby a few months later. I dropped out of school and Jim went to work full-time. Our life began to explode out of control.

Life Happens
I chose to breastfeed my son, Tony, and it was a very involved commitment. (Sometimes I surprise myself that at such a young age I was determined to commit to something and stick with it.) What I did not realize was the love I would have for my child — the endless devotion, time and sacrifices I would have to make. I spent the first few years torn between my childhood dreams and the incredible desire to lay my life down for my husband and child.  I tried to drive to silence this incredible  love I had for my family. I was born in a generation of women having careers and being on the move, and here I was sitting at home with my baby boy attached to my breast. This IS NOT the life I had planned. I was angry at myself and everyone around me. Anger drives you to do stupid things. The pressures of everyday life — paying the bills and maintaining a household — began to unravel my insides. I began to have some serious emotional struggles to the point my husband began to seek outside help. His answer was to take me to church.

Another Plan
As I listened to the messages the Pastor shared, I began to see that the way I thought about life was different than what God had intended. The pure love and grace I experienced began to change the way I thought, felt, and saw life. God began to unravel the mess I was in. My deep hurts from life experiences had made me a mess. I now know that bad things happen to all of us and it’s what you choose to do with it that matters. There were too many things that were bigger than me and I needed someone much bigger than me to help. I chose the one person who was in charge of the universe, God himself. I began to remember the incredible love of the Jesus I met as a girl. And the burdens of life began to ease with help from the lessons I was learning  from the Bible.

My Dreams Change
I sit here today 48, married 30 years to one man in whom I have loved a lifetime, I raised two incredible men, and a slew of kids that I never intended to. And I realize THIS was the plan for my life. That there isn’t anything more important than doing the best we can to raise Godly people who will give all they are for the better good of others. All the things I thought I wanted, seem a million miles away from who I turned out to be. And I am so thankful for that.

Could We Give Ourselves a Break?
With a lifetime of experiences I express in all earnest, can we please give ourselves a break? We do the best we can and with God’s help, we do a lot better. But it’s all trial and error. We learn as we go. Sometimes we hurt our children without knowing, or out of the frustrations of life. Sometimes things happen outside our control — a pregnant daughter, a child with Down syndrome, a rebellious teen,  a son too big for his britches, cancer, and/or mental illness — and nothing we do seems to change it. I have heard the statement, “I must have been a crappy mother,” too many times lately. Ok, so we may have made some mistakes, made some bad decisions, could have handled things better, not reacted out of frustration or just not knowing. But, at some point, we have to forgive ourselves and move on. I found that how a child chooses to live their life is not my responsibility. What my responsibility is, is how I choose to deal with it. And, frankly, sometimes we may have to step out of the way and let God handle it. We have to recognize LIFE is bigger than us. It was before we were, and will be after us. And what we do with our small piece is all we can do.

I have decided to give myself a break already. I will never stop loving, or giving, or hoping and definitely not stop praying and believing. But, at some point, I had to put those things I pined over in my youth — broken dreams, missteps, etc. — all in a pan on the back of the stove on God’s simmer plate and move on to what’s before me now.

All I want is to be a good mom, friend, and wife. I want to learn to love beyond my own ability. And, hopefully, positively affect the lives of people who cross my path in life.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. thanks Marianne. You encourage me to keep going!

    Reply

  2. Wow, Lori, you are awesome. I have known this from the moment I met you. I knew you would be a good friend and I wasn’t wrong. This blog is what I love about you. I am off to be the best wife, mom and friend that I can be but first I will myself a little slack but do the best I can with the grace of God helping me along.

    Reply

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